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The Last Unicorn [Paperback]

Peter S. Beagle
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.50
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Book Description

Nov. 8 2011
The 30th anniversary of a fantasy classic from Peter S. Beagle!

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The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. --Nona Vero

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle, a World Fantasy Award nominee, is the bestselling author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn as well as many other highly acclaimed works. His novels and stories have been translated into sixteen languages worldwide, and his long and fascinating career has covered everything from journalism and stage adaptations to songwriting and performances. He has given readings, lectures, and concerts of his own songs from coast to coast, and has written several screenplays, including Ralph Bakshi's film version of The Lord of the Rings.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glowing Brilliance Nov. 14 2002
By Severa
This book is shimmering with magic and beauty. It is just as otherwordly as the fairy-tales you loved as a child, and yet it somehow more than that. It has its own mood, its own atmosphere. Somehow, it seems as though all the characters are aware of the world they live in, as real people never are. This is not a dream pretending to be real. This reality well aware that it is a dream.
The charakters are simple and yet each serves a purpose. Each is distinct and well-drawn, from the amusing Smendrick and the strong Molly the tragic Unicorn and the wrecked king Haggard. And even though you instantly "see" each character, they are all more than what they apear to be. All of them seem to have that second layer wich makes them deeper and more meaningul. They are both simple and many-layered. And all of them are tragic, and yet filled with hope.
The story is written in a language full of delightful images, with so musical lines its almost like poetry from time to time. I've never read anything quite like this book, and that is saying a lot. Scenes and sentenses keep popping back into my head, even when I'm thinking about something quite unrelated.
But the thing that really sets this book apart is that even though it is wonderfuly inreal, it feels true. It feels though the world of the unicorn is more true than the real world. It almost hurts to go back.
Go on. Buy this book. Spend a few hours in a magical dream-land. We all need some enchantment in our lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring, exquisite story. April 15 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read The Last Unicorn when I was in my teens. The images and emotions the story evoked stayed with me. I'm thrilled to have my own personal copy now. I shall treasure it always and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a well-written story.

Jenna Lindsey, Author
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2.0 out of 5 stars I guess I'm too old. Feb. 1 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of the rave reviews, I never read it as a child, so didn't have fond memories of the book. As it is this book really is for younger readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars As good as the cartoon Jan. 25 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
“The Last Unicorn” is a true classic of its time. The imagination and riddles surrounding the unicorns and Red Bull are wonderfully panned out. The characters are much different than the cartoon (something I saw back when I was a kid and adored). In the book, Molly wasn’t quite so harsh or haggard, the unicorn’s actions are more understandable and Schmendrick isn’t quite the dweeb. The dialogue, however, can get a little carried away with itself and go nowhere for several pages.

The book is very much like the cartoon as you can imagine, but it was good to get to know the story through my imagination rather than the television screen.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging fairy tale July 27 2013
By Tannis
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked the writing style and the plot. I watched the cartoon as a kid and had nightmares so I wanted to read the actual story! A good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite fairy tale Jan. 11 2013
By G. Larouche TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Last Unicorn" has been my favorite fairy tale since I was very young: I saw the movie, and then really wanted to read the original book.

It is the story of a lonely unicorn who lives in a beautiful forest, and who, after overhearing hunters say that she is the last unicorn in the world, decides to leave her home and find out what happened to the others. On her quest, she befriends a rather incompetent magician and a grumpy but gentle peasant woman, before finding herself accidentally changed into a woman. But that painful transformation may be the only way to figure out what happened to the other unicorns.

This luminous story has all the elements of a classic fairy tale: a quest, a handsome prince, an evil witch and extraordinary creatures; but none of it turns out the way other fairy tales do. A few pop culture references are scattered through the story, like little winks to the reader that connect this lovely fantasy story to the real world. The language Beagle uses is poetic, flowing and at times, dream-like. The writing flows beautifully and leaves haunting images lingering in the reader's mind long after the book is finished.

Even if I have been reading this book for years, it still makes me laugh and cry every time I pick it up. Some reviews compare it to the Narnia series and "The Hobbit", and I agree: it is a modern-yet-ancient story that deserves a shining spot with those other books that will delight readers of all ages.

The movie and graphic novel are also beautiful and totally worth your time and money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real fairy tale. March 31 2004
"The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone..."
But when one day she overhears two hunters arguing about the existence, or not, of her kind, she starts wondering if she's indeed the last unicorn, and sets off on a quest to find others like her. Nobody believes in fairy tales anymore and everyone she meets thinks she's nothing more than a white mare. Even Mommy Fortuna, who captures her one night while she's indiscreetly sleeping on the edge of a wood, and puts her in a cage to entertain and impress customers of her Midnight Carnival, alongside other animals that the witch turns into various illusory mythical beasts. Hopefully, one of Fortuna's assistants, Schmendrick the wannabe magician, recognizes the unicorn for what she really is. He releases her, and travelling together, meeting a new companion called Molly Grue on the way, they make for King Haggard's cursed castle. There lives the terrible Red Bull, the blind, devilish creature responsible for the disappearance of the unicorns, or so they've heard.
The Last Unicorn is a real fairy tale, where everything seems to happen in a kind of ethereal, parallel reality. Beagle’s style is such that every place, every character, and every action that takes place is hard to focus on, as if it were a dream that you're trying to remember. And on the other hand, it approaches very real themes, ones you can relate to, such as finding who you are and what you want to be, or making the right choices and compromises in your life... I won't say I understood it all, but I was charmed by this deep, very poetic, and sad tale of love and magic, good and evil, by this quest for seasons of candor, when we believe in fairy tales and legendary creatures.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quest of the unicorn
Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" is one of the ultimate modern fairy tales -- the magical, bittersweet story of a little unicorn's search for others of her kind. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2011 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale
After finishing reading it, that's all I can say. It follows none of the preconceived notions of "modern" fantasy, and thus felt very new to me, even though it was first... Read more
Published on July 28 2011 by al360ex
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah!
Unicorns have been my favourite "creatures" ever since I can remember...my favourite creature to ride on any merry-go-round I can find! :)
Published on April 15 2011 by Roxy
4.0 out of 5 stars A philosophical fairy tale.
Much like with my review of The Thief Lord, I had first been introduced to this story through the film version, and fell in love with it. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2010 by Ria (Bibliotropic)
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Favorite
This is perhaps my favorite story of all time. I've been a fan of the movie and novel for a long time and both are worth the time to watch and read. Read more
Published on April 17 2010 by Sabir
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical Fantasy
While The Last Unicorn may not be comparable to such classics as The Lord of the Rings or the Narnia series, it is nevertheless a beautiful glance into a fantastical world of... Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2006 by Krypter
5.0 out of 5 stars What insight!!
This is the first book by Peter S. Beagle that I ever read and it remains my favorite. Beagle has such a beautiful talent to deict good and evil very well but also in such a light... Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by pvdela
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK!
This book is the greatest of it's genre and i would like it known that this review is to a fellow reviewer (Laura Beattie). Read more
Published on July 15 2004
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